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Procedural Law and the Bill of Rights Research Paper

Procedural Law and the Bill of Rights as the Sources of Law: Comparison

The modern American justice system comprises a range of elements that allow managing the needs of its citizens and address the instances in which their rights are infringed. Though being only parts of the grand system, the Procedural Law and the Bill of Rights create the environment in which handling the issues occurring in the legal field of the U.S. becomes a possibility. Therefore, the two documents share certain characteristics even though they have different purposes and roles (Carmen & Hemmens, 2016).

The Procedural Law is utilized as the basis for determining the course of actions in the environment of a civil, administrative, or criminal court (Carmen & Hemmens, 2016). Similarly, the Bill of Rights is referred to as the document that unifies a set of specific principles, particularly, the range of human rights to which the citizens of the U.S. are entitled. Therefore, both items constitute the fundamental standards based on which legal decisions are made in the target environments (Carmen & Hemmens, 2016).

However, there are certain differences between the two documents as well. For example, the Bill of Rights addresses the entirety of the U.S. population, whereas the Procedural Law is directed primarily at the heads of a court. Moreover, the Procedural Law helps use appropriate regulations to manage a case, whereas the Bill of Rights sets the boundaries for the state power to protect the rights of the U.S. citizens (Carmen & Hemmens, 2016).

Arrest and Sentencing as Two Key Steps of the Criminal Justice Process

An arrest is typically viewed as one of the primary stages of the criminal justice process, whereas sentencing typically precedes some of its final steps. By definition, an arrest requires providing an arrest warrant; otherwise, the process will be invalid. Moreover, the subject matter should not be conflated with detention since the former requires that strong evidence confirming the guilt of the suspect is provided. An arrest is typically carried out by law enforcement officers and can take place anywhere (Kelly, 2015).

Unlike an arrest, sentencing usually occurs in the court and is performed by the judge. The sentencing process implies that the verdict is voiced by the judge. As soon as the hearing of the sentence is finished, a defendant is taken into custody. Afterward, the defendant serves a sentence respectively (Kelly, 2015).

Arrest, Search and Seizures, and the Fourth Amendment

Even though the process of apprehending a criminal often implies a significant resistance from the latter, it is crucial to maintain the environment in which suspects can retain their dignity and treat them with respect by acknowledging their irrefutable rights. Seeing that the latter are guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment, the specified document needs to be referred to as the essential resource for conducting the process of arrest, search, and seizures accordingly (Bailey, 2015).

For instance, it is prohibited to seize the items that belong to suspects and cannot be directly used as evidence in court. Similarly, the scenarios in which a suspect remains especially vulnerable, e.g., the confinement of their own home, where police enter to arrest them, imply the use of the Fourth Amendment as the means of guaranteeing that the rights of the suspects are not violated. In the specified scenario, the use of the Fourth Amendment is self-explanatory. The document in question includes a list of rights and freedoms to which every U.S. citizen is entitled, including the right for keeping their dignity intact (Bailey, 2015). Therefore, using the Fourth Amendment to safeguard the rights and freedoms of suspects is crucial.

Probable Cause and Reasonable Suspicion: Comparison

Seeing that the U.S. citizens are protected from illegal seizures and inspections by the Fourth Amendment, the reasons for detaining a person and carrying out the search for evidence are split into two major categories, i.e., a probable cause and a reasonable suspicion. A probable cause may include the reason to arrest a person or to search for the expected evidence. The specified procedure is only possible in case the facts pointing to the possibility of finding sufficient evidence or proving the person in question to be responsible for a particular crime are provided.

Reasonable suspicion, in turn, implies that no information serving as the proof of the connection between a crime and a suspect has been located, yet there is certain circumstantial evidence that allows conducting the search. In the identified scenario, the experience of the police officer may serve as a justifiable reason to stop suspects for their further detention and, possibly, questioning (Bailey, 2015).

When Exclusionary Rule Does Not Apply: State Law Violations and Civil Proceedings

The concept of the exclusionary rule is typically listed among the prime examples of the Fourth Amendment being adopted in the court of law. According to the existing definition, the exclusionary rule is the prohibition from using the information that was obtained against the defendant’s will (Bailey, 2015). It should be noted, though, that the exclusionary rule cannot be utilized in the cases involving state violations and civil proceedings (Bailey, 2015). Furthermore, the scenarios that include the search of a person who cannot be deemed as the subject of the exclusionary rule should be listed among the cases when the identified regulation cannot be used.

The adoption of the Plain View Doctrine is also quite common in the cases that involve refuting the exclusionary rule. The specified idea suggests that an officer has the right to overlook the rule when the officer sees a crime being committed in plain view. The scenario described above requires immediate actions because of the legal ethics and the necessity to prevent crime and reduce its impact (Bailey, 2015). Thus, the tenets of the exclusionary rule may be disregarded in the identified case.

Using Force: A Case Study Overview

The legal ramifications of using force as the means of restoring justice might seem rather convoluted, yet a recent case shows that brutal force utilized by police to provide a local community with the required protection cannot be deemed as acceptable. Particularly, in the case of Plumhoff v. Rickard, the court denied the motion aimed at providing a police officer with immunity after he had shot a suspect. Considering the case under analysis as a prime example of using brutal force as opposed to a more reasonable course of actions, the court defined the officer as guilty (Plumhoff v. Rickard, 2014).

Therefore, the case shows that the contemporary justice system remains flawed, yet actions are taken to address the existing problems. The problem of inequality currently persists in the U.S. legal environment. However, once due efforts are applied, a major change in the social and legal justice system can be expected.


Bailey, C. (2015). Criminal procedure: Model problems and outstanding answers. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Carmen, R. V., & Hemmens, C. (2016). Criminal procedure: Law and practice. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Kelly, W. R. (2015). Criminal justice at the crossroads: Transforming crime and punishment. Columbia, MO: Columbia University Press.

Plumhoff v. Rickard, 12-1117 (2014).

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Procedural Law and the Bill of Rights." September 2, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/procedural-law-and-the-bill-of-rights/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'Procedural Law and the Bill of Rights'. 2 September.

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